The ECB has advertised for a new bank supervisory chief, looking for an expert to oversee a sector still weighed down by bad loans and weak profitability following the bloc’s debt crisis.
While no candidate has formally expressed interest, the Central Bank’s deputy governor Sharon Donnery has been linked to the role.
European Banking Authority chair Andrea Enria, ECB supervisor Ignazio Angeloni, and former Dutch supervisor Jan Sijbrand are also viewed as being potential candidates.
The job ad published on the ECB website formally launches the process to replace France’s Daniele Nouy, whose five-year term ends at the end of December.
Ms Nouy, in the role since 2014, set up the Single Supervisory Mechanism from scratch but struggled at times to push through proposals to clean up the sector in the face of intense lobbying from southern European nations, particularly Italy.
Three senior Italian banking sources said they expected Mr Enria to apply, with one of them seeing him as the “perfect choice”.
Although it is up to individuals to apply, no candidate is likely to succeed without their home government’s approval and a direct lobbying effort among eurozone members.
While Germany could also field a qualified candidate, it is unlikely to do so as that would probably rule out Bundesbank president Jens Weidmann from the race to replace ECB chief Mario Draghi next year.
The ECB may also come under pressure to find a woman for the job as only two of its 25 governing council members are female.